The 2012 Boise State Broncos were far from a vintage version of the ruthless machine Chris Petersen has fashioned out in Big Sky Country. They still ended the season the same way they have in the past.
The Broncos bested Washington, 28-26, in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas behind arguably Joe Southwick’s best performance of the season. The junior quarterback was coolly efficient, completing 26 of 38 pass attempts for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns with nary an interception.
Boise withstood a titanic effort from Huskies running back Bishop Sankey, who legged out 205 yards on the ground and had another 74 yards through the air.
In a back-and-forth contest, three turnovers undid UW. They included a fumble on the Huskies’ opening drive, as well as a game-sealing interception by quarterback Keith Price with 14 ticks left on the clock.
And, for once, Boise wasn’t undone by its kicking game. Senior Michael Frisina booted three field goals, the last of which came from 27 yards out and provided his team’s winning margin.
After a season spent outside the national spotlight, could Boise be preparing to make another run at busting the BCS in 2013? The poise Southwick showed Saturday offered a promising sign.
West of Boise, however, Steve Sarkisian’s program looks to be stuck in neutral.
Although Sark’s name continues to circulate as one of the coaching circuit’s young rainmakers, the reality is that UW is 26-25 in his four years as head honcho. He has rescued the program from the depths that it reached under Ty Willingham. Yet, life in the Pac-12 North isn’t getting any easier with Oregon and Stanford taking up residence among the national elite.
With his team’s nose pressed up against the conference’s glass ceiling, 2013 could be Sark’s last chance to break through.